Tribe concerned about reclaimed water on Gila River land
LAVEEN – A deal to trade drinking water for reclaimed water to irrigate fields on the Gila River Indian Community has been the source of a months-long battle between the small Pii Paash tribe and the larger Gila River community.
Concerned for potential health risks for themselves and the surrounding wildlife, the Pii Paash voted on Sept. 19, 2015 to keep reclaimed water out of its territory. However, the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) Tribal Government made a deal to install West Side Laterals Pipelines and trade Central Arizona Project drinking water for reclaimed water from Chandler and Mesa municipalities. Reclaimed water is often used for irrigation to save precious drinking water. GRIC saves money and water by making the trade, officials said.
During a meeting in June, the GRIC approved moving reclaimed water to an area that adjoins the Pii Paash land, but the small tribe of about 1,000 remains worried that the water will seep onto its land and believes the environmental questions have not been answered.